Tuesday, January 7, 2003
While I was watching the History Channel recently, I was reminded of something I'd heard about one of World War II's most dramatic confrontations. British General Montgomery went face-to-face with Hitler's best, General Rommel. They called him "The Desert Fox." He was a brilliant strategist in his campaigns to take and then to keep North Africa for the Fuehrer. Well, Montgomery finally defeated the Desert Fox at the Battle of El Alamein. But history also tells us one reason why he did. See, General Montgomery had a picture hanging in his command tent where he could see it every day. No, it wasn't Winston Churchill. It wasn't the King of England. It was a picture of General Rommel. Montgomery didn't ever want to forget who he was fighting.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never Forget Who You're Fighting."
Actually, that's an important secret of spiritual victory, too - never forgetting who your real enemy is. That's why the Bible warns us to be alert because "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) We're told to "take your stand against the devil's schemes" because "our struggle is not against flesh and blood." (Ephesians 6:11-12) Now, it's easy to fall into thinking that we're fighting just people or problems or obstacles, but we need to keep our real enemy in front of us.
In our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 22:31, Jesus gives Peter - and us - this warning and this promise. "Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." Don't you love those words, "Satan has asked to sift you"? There is nothing the enemy can do to you without your Savior's permission. God will only allow what He knows you can handle, what can make you stronger, and what can boomerang in Satan's face. And as in Peter's life, Jesus is really planning to use you. So Satan is really trying to sift you.
General Montgomery made sure he knew his enemy's tactics. You need to know that about your enemy. Obviously, he isn't going to come to you openly and say, "Hi, this is the Devil. Come with me." No, he wants you to forget him so you don't resist him. He wants you to fight this as a flesh-and-blood battle - then he's got you.
So what are some of the strategies Satan may be using to stop you? For one thing - worries. He's trying to get you to worry about things so you'll be slowed down, discouraged, paralyzed.
And then there are wounds. Your enemy will try to use hurts and slights and disappointments to get you focusing on how you've been hurt, which is really getting you to focus on yourself.
Your enemy also uses walls to defeat you - walls that you allow to develop between you and another person. You resist the devil when you go immediately to a person to get things right - before a wall can develop.
Your enemy might try to use work to sink you - just getting you overwhelmed by that mountain of work you have, getting you to focus on your load instead of your Lord.
Another enemy target is your weaknesses. He's appealing to some of your vulnerable spots to get you to fall there again. You have to consciously face your weakness each morning, and declare this Jesus' territory.
Finally, Satan will try to use the wilderness to bring you down - using a spiritually dry spell to pull you away from Jesus.
And your response? Resist him! You tell him with Holy Spirit defiance, "I know who this is, and I'm not falling for this!" Why should you? You belong to Jesus, at whose Name every knee will bow!